Levee breach devastates village of Pinhook

­PINHOOK, Mo. — Doors aren’t a given for houses on Lawrence Street. Some have been torn off by the same floodwater that ripped out sinks, overturned couches and scattered chunks of vinyl siding across weedy fields throughout Pinhook last summer.

The Mississippi River ravaged the small, poor and predominately black village in Mississippi County, displacing all but one family of its 52 residents, many of whom are still looking for­­ permanent homes.

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blasted the Birds Point levee in May, floodwaters submerged thousands of acres in the spillway.

“For a lot of people it took a tremendous toll on them, and a lot of them are still not over it yet and won’t be for a long time,” East Prairie Mayor Kevin Mainord said.

Farmers near East Prairie have been vocal about the devastation, unsuccessfully suing the Corps, producing a video and gaining mention in nationally circulated publications.

Pinhook’s wreckage has received less attention, but — unlike the area’s farmland — the community might never recover.

Residents are eager to take a $1.7 million buyout to relocate out of the floodway, Steve Duke, executive director of the Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission, told the Southeast Missourian. The town wants to relocate as a community, though, something senator Roy Blunt said the state might not be able to afford.

— Tony Schick, Edited by Sarah Alban

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